Following the August floods, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux is looking for new ways to help the parish become more resilient – better prepared and quicker to recover to from future challenges – and is working to build public and private partnerships to achieve the goal.
Building resilient cities is a global movement to equip communities to handle physical, social and economic challenges by focusing on planning, response and an increased ability to better absorb an unexpected event.
Robideaux, a member of the Governor’s Restore Louisiana Task Force, said he is confident Lafayette can become a model resilient community, “We are a community of wildcatters, and it comes especially natural to us to apply ingenuity to living in this unique place we call home. As we recover from the August floods, the time is right for us to take a look at rebuilding in innovative ways that will not only make us even more resilient, but also less vulnerable in future events.”
During the first week of December, Robideaux was one of only six other mayors from across the country invited to join the Resilient Cities Summit, hosted by the National League of Cities, the Urban Land Institute and the U.S. Green Building Council. The conference offered an opportunity for community leaders and planners to discuss and learn more about the nationwide effort for communities to become more resilient.
Robideaux said this momentum will carry over into the New Year with Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) hosting a Resilient Infrastructure Workshop in January, “Lafayette was one of only a few communities in the state selected by The Rockefeller Foundation for technical assistance following the August flooding.” The Rockefeller Foundation, a pioneer of the resilient cities movement, is partnering with LCG on the workshop with support from CB&I, Center for Planning Excellence, and HR&A Advisors. Community stakeholders and planners will hear from HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Harriet Tregoning and join presentations focused on risk and resilience, the qualities of innovative resilience projects and design thinking. Attendees will look at local, planned infrastructure projects to determine their resilience value, identify key stakeholders, optimize project design and outline a plan of action toward implementation.
The upcoming LCG workshop is the most recent indicator of a growing relationship with HUD; in September, HUD awarded LCG an early infusion of $1.9 million for disaster recovery following the August 12 flooding and in November, HUD returned the Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette to local control.